Tuesday, January 29, 2013

December Sun

Greetings fellow Toads! I am lolamouse, and I had the pleasure of writing with Peggy Goetz for our In Tandem post.  We decided to play a game of Haikai, which is a form of Japanese collaborative poetry.  Haikai is a creative group activity that can be played with any number of people, either live and in-person or, as in our case, via e- mails over a period of time.

A Haikai poem may contain any number of verses, but it is written in alternating three- and two-line verses.  The three-line verses may have up to 17 syllables, and the two-line verses up to 14. Additionally, there are some "rules" that should followed:

1. The first writer (three-line verse) should make a reference to the current season and surroundings. This may be direct (winter) or indirect (snow). Remember, no more than 17 syllables total.

2. The next person should write something to suggest the same season as the first verse. It should link to the first verse, but shift away from it a bit as well. After the first verse, everything is fictional. No more than 14 syllables in the two-line verses.

3. The third writer (or back to the first if there are only two) should write a three-line verse that links to the second verse but also shifts away from the first verse in meaning somewhat.

4. Continue alternating two- and three-line verses. Every few verses, a season should be mentioned. The idea is to link to the preceding verse while shifting away from the one before that. A feeling of change is conveyed by linking and shifting.

5. It is also suggested to include the following:
  • all four seasons
  • the moon
  • a flower
  • love (in two adjacent verses)
6. Haikai start with three-line stanzas and end with two-line stanzas. Participants may vary their writing order so that each may write long and short verses.

7. End on an upbeat note.

Easy enough, right? Actually, it's not that difficult once you get started. Below is my and Peggy's attempt at Haikai. You can read it and see if we followed all of the rules!

photo source

December sun
peeks through gray smiling
for late roses damp with dew

Petals of faded velvet
recall their glory days

She stands at the window
remembering, sighs
as soup pot boils over

Red cardinal alights
upon rusted sled

Scarlet melody wakes
summer memories
lovers walk entwined

Hearts naked dancing
with electric hunger

Fingertips buzzing
Each touch a playful sting,
kindling sleeping skin

August blaze lingers as owl
moon lights dark eastern sky

Silent, wolf moon stalks
owl among stars 
Plaintive howls in the snow

Soon pups will play in spring bright
dales as all begins again.


LLM Calling said...

brilliant ladies, that's so much fun to read especially when you.share how it came about. I might try this with Rachel, it's a lot.of fun.

Mary said...

Sheri and Peggy, well done!

My favorite stanza is this one:

Silent, wolf moon stalks
owl among stars
Plaintive howls in the snow

But it was VERY hard to make a choice! I enjoyed the technique as well.

hedgewitch said...

Not difficult, eh? I find all collaborative poems to be like pulling teeth, but you two seem to sail through all the rules here with a breezy ease. Enjoyed it, ladies.

Scarlet said...

Mary quoted my favorite part too ~

Such a wonderful idea - love the structure and weaving of seasons, moon, flower and love ~

Lovely work to both of you ~

Cheers ~


Susan said...

The tone linking all mesmerizes me, starting with this story:

"She stands at the window
remembering, sighs
as soup pot boils over"

Lovely! Each moment a pause for the heart:

"Hearts naked dancing
with electric hunger

"Fingertips buzzing
Each touch a playful sting,
kindling sleeping skin . . ."

You two braid sweetness together.
Thank you.

Fireblossom said...

You don't fool me for a minute, Ms. Mouse! You are always poking me with forms that start with h-a-i-k. This means war! (but I still love ya, lol)

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is huge! I mean the ancient traditional approach to collaborative poetry, the sympathy between writers that allows the end product to speak in one voice, the discipline of syllable counting...and the end result speaks for itself: just stunning.

I particularly loved the scene in which the soup boils over and everyone's favourite image of the wolf moon.

Marian said...

nice! my favorite is everyone else's favorite, the pot boiling over. so easy to let such things happen when connecting with nature. love this! you make it seem so effortless, but we all know it was not. :)

Ella said...

This is gorgeous! I can't pick any favs-I'd have to copy the whole poem! The progression is amazing and how you blended your talents-I'm in awe! I love this poem!
Bravo Ladies @---> @--->

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, as I was reading the form requirements, I was marveling at your bravery, choosing such an intricate challenge. The resulting work is STUNNING. Just so good. You made it look easy, and I know it is not. It is beautiful to read with its owl and wolf moons. Fantastic collaboration, gals.

Susie Clevenger said...

With all those instructions as to form it sounds like it was so complicated yet the result was delicate beauty! Well done ladies!

Kay L. Davies said...

Hallo, Ms Mouse!
What a great job you and Peggy have done here, each verse leading slightly away from the previous until you get from winter through summer and then to spring. I love it, especially those wolf pups!

Lolamouse said...

Thank you all so much for the kind comments! I really enjoyed working with Peggy on this. We seemed to be able to blend our styles together quite easily, perhaps because of the form requirements! It really was fun to await the next stanza in my email and see where Peggy was taking it.

Shay, you don't HAVE to call it anything starting with "Hai..." How about "Link and Shift" poetry? Would you like it better then?!!

Unknown said...

This is really fun to read, with or without the process notes. Your voices seamlessly flow, creating unity and the ideal type of collaboration.

Isadora Gruye said...

I agree that it was nice to see an ancient form of collaboration invoked in the garden. Well done ladies!

Peggy said...

Hi all, Peggy here. Thank you for all your lovely and encouraging comments. And I do have to tell you all that Shari (Lolamouse) came up with the form and the rules (from a web site). And it was not difficult.

One thing I learned from it was the ease of focusing on one stanza at a time, linking to the former stanza and shifting slightly. I don't think either of us had any feel for where it was heading when we started out.

So thank you Shari for keeping me on track (even over the holidays) and for writing this up!! It was a very fun experience.

Hannah said...

I agree with Kerry on the ancient traditional approach..I LOVE that and I'm excited to see this form..new to me!! I love haiku!

You two did an exceptional job...I love the seasons and stringing of scarlet throughout with the cardinal, too...the owls...very neat, I've been thinking lots about owls lately.

Very enjoyable read...thank you for taking part in the tandem experience!! :)'s

Mixi said...

Lolamouse and Peggy - Not only have you woven together a beautiful story, delicate and intricate in its form and lyrical in its composition, but you have done it within the confines of set rules and syllables. A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

I always have trouble with syllables, one of the reasons that the H-A-I forms elude me :(

Loved it!

T.A. Woods said...

This was a joy to read and a great way to start my writing day! Now, I'm curious to see what I could come up with, with a partner. Hmm...I may suggest this to a friend.

Margaret said...

A concise form that reads flowingly and soothingly. That isn't easy. Nicely done, ladies.